While the Trump administration is winding up international tensions across the globe with its penchant for slapping sanctions and tariffs on other nations, the breakthrough development over the Caspian Sea points to how multilateral accord can be achieved, and peace between countries maintained.
For over 20 years, the seashore nations of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia have been locked in dispute over territorial rights governing the Caspian – the world’s largest inland body of water.
But last Sunday, the leaders of the five countries signed a landmark legal convention which formulates a compromise on sharing the benefits – and responsibilities – of the sea’s rich resources.
Addressing the other leaders in the Kazakh port city of Aktau, Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the agreement as “epoch-making”, saying it would pave the way for greater cooperation and prosperity among the Central Asian neighbors.
Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani told delegates: “Our region could be an example of stability, friendship and a good neighborhood.”
At the heart of the erstwhile dispute was how to legally define the Caspian. Was it a sea or a lake? That definitional difference meant different governing laws could be applied, with implications for how the five littoral nations would share the resources of that vast waterway – an area (370,000 square km) which is bigger than that of Germany and many other European states. With huge oil and gas reserves, as well as lucrative fishing resources, the division of the Caspian has always been a fraught subject.
What has been agreed now is an innovative compromise between the stakeholder nations. The surface water is to be treated as an international sea which means freedom of navigation for the five peripheral countries to any of the shores. But the seabed is defined as if it were dry land, allowing for the distribution of constituent zones on an equitable basis.
The precise formula for sharing the area has reportedly yet to be established, requiring follow-up meetings between foreign ministers. But the main outcome so far is the five neighbors have come up with an amicable, workable solution.
“Reaching this consensus on the status of the sea was a difficult process,” said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. “It required a lot of effort… but now we have goodwill.”
Up until the fall of the Soviet Union, the Caspian was shared by just two jurisdictions – that of the USSR and Iran. With the independence of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan that led to more competing claims.
The hydrocarbon resources under the seabed are immense, estimated to be worth trillions of dollars. With proven reserves of 50 billion barrels of oil that puts the region ahead of the United States or Nigeria. In addition, there are natural gas fields reckoned to be equivalent in size to those of Saudi Arabia.
Commendably, the littoral nations have come up with a mutual accord to allocate the resources, recognizing the sovereignty of each. That means for Russia, it is obliged to accede to a trans-Caspian pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan which could compete with its market share for fuel exports to Europe.
On the other hand, Russia’s total naval access to the Caspian gives it crucial security defense. Russian warships used the Caspian as a launching area for its Kalibr cruise missiles during the war in Syria in support of the Assad government against Western-backed militants.
As Putin also pointed out during the signing ceremony in Aktau, the Caspian is a vital security area for Central Asia, straddling Afghanistan and the Middle East. For Russia, securing its Caucasus region from encroaching terror threats is paramount.
Significantly, too, the Caspian Sea deal categorically excludes any external military power from gaining a foothold. Un
And the public at large start a malicious rumor circuit. Which, in turn is taken over by the MSM, so that their lies are pushing in open doors. The war drums start beating. The populace wants foreign imposed order, they want blood and ‘regime change’. The consensus for war has once more worked. And the blood may flow. Instigated by outside forces, such as the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID, which train and fund nationals clandestinely in-and outside the country where eventually they have to operate. They are commandeered by Washington and other western powers and act so as to blame the “non-obedient” governments, whose regime must be changed. They constitute part of the Fifth Column.
A Fifth Column is a group of people, who undermine the government of a country in support of the enemy. They can be both covert and open. The term Fifth Column originates from the Spanish Civil War, when in October 1936 nationalist rebel General Mola initiated the coup d’état against the legitimate Republican Government. This marked the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. General Mola besieged Madrid with four “columns” of troops and claimed he had a “Fifth Column”, hiding inside the city. The term was henceforth used for infiltrated enemies within a legitimate government. Mola, the mastermind behind the coup died in a 1937 plane crash, and General Francisco Franco became Spain’s dictator for the next almost 40 years. He prevailed over the Republican resistance thanks to Hitler’s and Mussolini’s air support.
Now what’s the true story behind the violence-plagued Nicaragua and Venezuela, and the treacherous new Moreno government in Ecuador?
Take Nicaragua – it all started with the Board of Directors of the Nicaragua Social Security Institute (INSS) on 16 April 2018 approving an IMF-imposed social security reform, modified and then supported by President Ortega. The reform maintained social security at its current level, but would increasing employer contributions by 3.5% to pension and health funds, while only slightly increasing worker contributions by 0.75% and shifting 5% of pensioners’ cash transfer into their healthcare fund. These reforms triggered the coup attempt initiated by the business lobby and backed by the Nicaraguan oligarchy.
Student protests were already ongoing in different university cities in connection with university elections. These protests were re-directed against the Ortega government with the help of US-funded NGOs and the Catholic Church, an ally of the wealthy in most of Latin America. Some of the students involved in ‘re-directing’ the protests were brought to the US for training by the Freedom House, a long-time associate of the CIA. USAID announced an additional US$ 1.5 million to build opposition to the Ortega Government. These funds along with financing from the NED will be channeled to NGOs to support anti-government protests.
Summarizing, in the course of the weeks following the coup, violence increased leaving a total of more than 300 dead by early August. Even though Ortega reversed the pension measures, unrests continued, now demanding the resignation of the President and Vice-President, his wife Rosario Murillo Zambrana. Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista and former guerilla leader, was first elected President in 1985. It is clear that the US and the dark forces behind the empire were preparing Fifth Column-type groups to intervene and take advantage of any social upheaval in the country to bring about regime change. What could have and would have been contained, continued as US inspired violent protests eventually aiming at the overthrow of Ortega’s government. That would bring Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua – and Panama – in line with US policies. Will Washington succeed?
On Venezuela – In mid-June 2018, I was privileged to be invit
With a few honorable exceptions, it is such a pity that the American people are misled by such buffoons. It is such a pity that the American and Russian people — who have so much in common as human beings — are nevertheless being driven towards a state of war by these buffoonish politicians.
Senator Rand Paul, like his father Ron, is an honorable exception.
Paul was in Russia last week offering a hand of peace and dialogue.
Back home, however, the Congress is dominated by Democrat and Republican war-makers, not lawmakers, who harbor such irrational bitterness towards Russia. They are clamoring for war with their ludicrous sanctions against Moscow.
Frankly, the United States does not have a government. It is a regime.
What else can we call it when the interests and needs of the vast majority of the nation are not served. A president, Donald Trump, was elected in part because he pledged to normalize relations with Russia.
But instead the political elites and unelected powers-that-be over-ride the popular mandate, to impose their agenda of belligerence.
So much for democracy!
Rather what is being served is the war-profiting of a corporatist state by a national tiny minority of ignorant and hate-filled politicians who are bought and paid for.
The American regime is implementing more economic sanctions on Russia based on absurd fantasies. The fantasy that Russia carried out a poison-assassination in Britain; the fantasy that Russia interferes in the US elections; the fantasy that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is a "Hitler figure" who also controls the US president; the fantasy that Russian news media, like Sputnik and RT, are part of a fiendish Kremlin plot to subvert American society.
How is it possible to conduct a civilized dialogue with such delusional, paranoid people?
US senators pushing for a new round of sanctions on Russia even gloat about their insane belligerence. They whoop and call it "the sanctions bill from hell". One of those senators, John McCain, is dying from brain cancer. Wouldn't McCain be better off thinking about his Maker and trying to leave this world with a modicum of peace? No, it seems.
McCain like the other American lawmakers is so filled with hatred and ignorance he seems to want to end the entire world along with his miserable life.
Make no mistake, what the American Congress is proposing is nothing short of economic warfare with Russia, if this new round of sanctions go into effect. Which seems very likely given the climate of hysteria and Russophobia that the American politicians and their servile corporatist media have generated with their anti-Russia fantasies.
Isn't it a crying shame that so many urgent social needs in America are being neglected? Poverty is at all-time highs. Children being killed from drugs and gun crime. Millions of Americans go to bed every night hungry. Workers live in cars in parking lots outside their workplaces. Young people can't get an education unless they become debt-slaves for the rest of their lives.
The natural environment too is going to hell. California's wildfires are emblematic of a nation that is burning down from its own odious failures and injustices.
Yet, in spite of these urgent unattended needs, the whole energy of the nation is being directed towards belligerence with Russia. Not just Russia, but several other countries. China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Turkey, Syria, and on and on. What is it about the American regime that it is compelled to wage war with everyone on the planet?
Instead of attending to the basic human needs of its own people.
Of course, that is a naive question. How else could it be when the American regime is a corporatist oligarchy whose purpose and function is to satisfy a wealthy elite and their political flunkies.
If the insane and ignorant politicians of the US regime get their way, the sanctions on Russia they are ratche
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, at least twenty-nine of those killed were children under the age of fifteen, and forty-eight people were wounded, including thirty children.
CNN aired horrifying, heartbreaking footage of children who survived the attack being treated in an emergency room. One of the children, carrying his UNICEF issued blue backpack, is covered with blood and badly burned.
Commenting on the tragedy, CNN’s senior correspondent Nima Elbagir emphasized that she had seen unaired video which was even worse than what the CNN segment showed. She then noted that conditions could worsen because Yemen’s vital port of Hodeidah, the only port currently functioning in Yemen, has been under attack for weeks of protracted Saudi coalition-led airstrikes. Ms. Elbagir described the port of Hodeidah as “the only lifeline to bring in supplies to Yemen.”
“This conflict is backed by the U.S. and the U.K.,” Elbagir said, concluding her report with, “They are in full support of the Saudi-led activities in Yemen today.”
U.S. companies such as Raytheon, General Dynamics, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin have sold billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Saudi-Emirati-led coalition which is attacking Yemen.
The U.S. military refuels Saudi and Emirati warplanes through midair exercises. And, the United States helps the Saudi coalition warmakers choose their targets.
Isa Blumi, an associate professor at Stockholm University and author of the book Destroying Yemen, has said the United States is “front and center responsible” for the Saudi coalition attacks.
Looking for a helpful way to describe U.S. support for the Saudi-Emirati operation in Yemen, journalist Samuel Oakford recently offered this comparison: “If an airstrike was a drive-by and killed someone, the U.S. provided the car, the wheels, the servicing and repair, the gun, the bullets, help with maintenance of those—and the gas.”
The August 9 attack against children and other civilians follows a tragic and sordid list of Saudi-Emirati attacks causing carnage and extreme affliction in Yemen. On June 12, Doctors Without Borders reported an airstrike which destroyed its newly constructed facility for treatment of cholera, in the town of Abs, built in anticipation of a third epidemic outbreak of cholera in Yemen.
Scores of people were killed and wounded in an August 3 attack near the entrance to the port of Hodeidah’s Al Thawra hospital. Analysts examining the munitions used in the attack believe the killing and destruction was caused when United Arab Emirates forces situated near the Hodeidah airport fired mortars into the area.
Why have the Saudis and Emiratis led a coalition attacking Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab peninsula, since March of 2015?
Professor Isa Blumi believes the goal is to bludgeon Yemenis into complete submission and exert control over “a gold mine” of resources, including oil reserves, natural gas, minerals, and a strategic location. Blumi notes that the war against Yemen costs the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 200 million dollars per day, yet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who commented that a prolonged war is in the interests of Saudi Arabia, seems to believe the cost is worth it, considering potential future gains.
Business profits seem to also motivate U.S. weapon companies that continue benefiting from weapon sales to the Saudi-Emirati led coalition.
The United States is deeply implicated in the appalling carnage in Yemen. It is our responsibility as citizens to do what we can to demand an end to this complicity.
As Russiagate is a hoax, Mueller has not been able to produce a shred of evidence of the alleged Trump/Putin plot to hack Hillary’s emails and influence the last presidential election.
With his investigation unable to produce any evidence of the alleged Russiagate, Mueller concluded that he had to direct attention away from the failed hoax by bringing some sort of case against someone, knowing that the incompetent and corrupt US media and insouciant public would assume that the case had something to do with Russiagate.
Mueller chose Paul Manafort as a target, hoping that faced with fighting false charges, Manafort would make a deal and make up some lies about Trump and Putin in exchange for the case against him being dropped. But Manafort stood his ground, forcing Mueller to go forward with a false case.
Manafort’s career is involved with Republican political campaigns. He is charged with such crimes as paying for NY Yankee baseball tickets with offshore funds not declared to tax authorities and with attempting to get bank loans on the basis of misrepresentation of his financial condition. In the prosecutors’ case, Manafort doesn’t have to have succeeded in getting a loan based on financial misrepresentation, only to be guilty of trying. Two of the people testifying against him have been paid off with dropped charges.
Mueller’s investigation is restricted to Russiagate. In other words, Mueller has no mandate to investigate or bring charges unrelated to Russiagate. In my opinion, Muller gets away with this only because the deputy Attorney General is in on the Russiagate plot against Trump. Mueller and Rosenstein know that they can count on the presstitutes to continue to deceive the public by presenting the Manafort trial as part of Russiagate.
The trial judge has twice criticized the prosecutors, asking them on one occasion if they had any evidence of successful fraud. In other words, the judge can tell the difference between actual fraud and a failed attempt at fraud, a distinction the prosecutors don’t want the jury to consider.
However, prosecutors can frame a judge, just as they are trying to frame the presidents of the United States and Russia. Realizing that, the judge backed off.
What the Manafort trial should tell you is how utterly and totally corrupt the United States is. In my opinion there is nowhere an organization as corrupt as the US Dept of Justice (sic).
That Russiagate continues on its corrupt course should tell you how powerless President Trump is. Trump cannot even influence his own Department of Justice, which is doing its best to destroy him.
Over the past few days, the residents of pro-government al-Fuah and Kafriya towns, both located in Idlib province’s northeast, were evacuated after over three years of siege. The army’s amassment in the northern areas signals that soon the Syrian military will start the battle to liberate Idlib, the last major stronghold of the armed groups fighting the central government for eight years.
Idlib, located in the northwestern border with Turkey, was seized in May 2015 by an alliance of armed groups led by Jaysh al-Fatah, the Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda terrorist group. The battleground equations changes have opened the hands of the Syrian Arab Army to prepare for a huge offensive against the terrorists’ last safe haven. Reports suggest the army prioritizes liberation of Jisr al-Shughur city bordering Lattakia province.
The reports also talk about the Syrian army’s large-scale deployment to several fronts in southwestern Aleppo province, eastern Idlib, northeastern Lattakia, and northwestern Hama province. Over the past few days, the Syrian and Russian bombers pounded terrorist positions over 100 times in Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo. The targeted neighborhoods included Sheek, Al-Ziyara, Tal Waset, Qastoun, Al-Mansourah, Al-Habit, Khan Sheykhun, and other areas.
The events bear a sign that the upcoming days will witness the most decisive anti-terror battle since the defeat of ISIS. The fight, however, will not be an easy job to accomplish as the army could face obstacles ahead. Still, Damascus military potentials are so immense, making it possible to deal fatal blows to the terrorists.
Terrorists amassed in Idlib
One major hurdle is the massive presence of the terrorist fighters in the province. Three years ago, Jaysh al-Fatah, Al-Nasra Front, and other factions seized Idlib control on the strength of Saudi and Turkish support. Over the past few months, the Syrian army’s victories in the south and center forced a large number of the armed groups to surrender and relocate to Idlib together with their families. Idlib, thus, represents an ending point for the anti-Damascus militiamen. But their expected resistance to a heavy assault will slow down the operation.
European worries about Western fighters’ return home
Another roadblock can be set up by the European governments which are afraid of the return of extremists to the home counties. Since 2011, a large number of European radical Islamists traveled to Syria and Iraq, both hot spots of a regional crisis, to join terror organizations. Idlib loss to the government can force a large number of them back to Europe. Europe may resort to establishing some barriers ahead of the northern front operation. A propaganda campaign accusing the government of chemical weapons, like what happened in Khan Sheykhun and Duma last year, is highly anticipated.
Turkey may start a game attacking Tahrir al-Sham Front
The Syrian government, moreover, has to deal with Turkey’s objection to the operation. Ankara intends to roughen Idlib liberation for Damascus. To this end, it eyes capturing the would-be battlefield before the government forces arrive using the opposition armed wing, the Free Syrian Army. It is now busy mobilizing the opposition forces against Tahrir al-Sham, the dominant group on Idlib ground. Idlib borders Turkey, which means the armed groups will get bigger life lines. Turkey-aligned militants already exist in Afrin in Idlib’s north and can disrupt the operation.
Military capabilities and cohesion
The first and most important factor that gives the Syrian army an upper hand in the northern battle is its military capabilities and unity. Over the seven years of unceasing fight in a multi-fronted war against multiple militia groups honed the army’s combat skills. If we add the Russian air cover and the Iranian advisory support, no force can confront its firepower. Recent victories in Damascus outskirts, Daraa,
Turkey refrained from releasing the pastor. In response, Washington immediately imposed sanctions on the Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul over their role in American national’s detention.
The reactions ushered in a domino-style row between the two allies. Trump in a post on 10 August said he was doubling the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports to the US. He also warned that a new batch of sanctions was to follow. The Turkish administration hit back by similar tariffs on the American products.
The tensions caused a currency crisis in Turkey. Only a day after Trump’s tweet, the Turkish currency lira value fell. Each dollar was dealt for 6.91 liras, meaning an 84.2 percent loss of value by the Turkish currency. Earlier this year, each dollar was sold for 3.75 liras.
The currency crisis and economic pressures made Ankara lash out at Washington, accusing it of “stabbing in the back”, and warning that their alliance is ending. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in an article published by the New York Times on August 11 warned of the end of alliance with the US and said Turkey finds new friends and allies. The warning is not easy to ignore.
Erdogan was right about his warning. The couple’s alliance is closer than ever to collapse. But is Trump the cause or it has deeper roots?
Turkish-American differences surely transcend Trump era and stem from 28 years of accumulated disputes since the end of the Cold War. The following are 17 factors that exhibit the end of the alliance:
1. During the First Persian Gulf War, in 1991, Turkey withheld its territory from the US for anti-Iraqi operations. It also declined to join the US-led alliance against Iraq’s Saddam Hussain.
2. In the Balkans war, Turkey moved against NATO strategy by offering help to the Islamic groups. The support was highly noticeable during the rule of Necmettin Erbakan-led Welfare Party.
3. In 2003, Turkey turned down a US request to use its Incirlik airbase for bombing Iraq.
4. When in 2004, the then-US President George W. Bush exposed to CNN his administration’s Greater Middle East program, Erdogan, dreaming of restoring Ottoman Empire, came against the idea, saying Washington’s plan was dangerous to the region.
5. In 2005, The US-based International Center for Terrorism Studies published a report in which it gave proofs about Turkey’s support to Islamists who attacked the US forces in the region. The report triggered White House’s anti-Turkish fury.
6. Since 2011, the year the Arab uprisings erupted, Turkey, assisted by Qatar, pushed for Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco, moving contrary to Washington’s regional policies.
7. Since the outset of the Syrian crisis, Ankara leaders pressed for a safe zone starting from Azaz to Jarabulus in Aleppo province. The idea, however, was brazenly rejected by the US.
8. Turkey and the US have been at loggerheads over Washington’s alliance with Syrian Kurds starting from 2014. Erdogan accuses the Americans of backing Syrian branch of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkey’s archenemy.
9. In late 2016, Turkey in a shift of policy turned to Russia-Iran alliance in Syria. With Russia, it brokered first Syrian ceasefire on December 31 the same year. Turkey also joined Astana peace process on Syria beside Iran and Russia, arousing the ire of the Americans.
10. A failed military coup hit Turkey in July 2016. Ankara said it has documents showing US intervention. The incident was the main cause of Erdogan’s pessimism toward Washington.
11. Turkey’s expansion of trade ties with Iran. Since 2017, the two neighbors’ trade increased by 14 percent, touching $8 billion. The issue caused severe American discontentment.
12. After the military coup, Ankara engaged in mounting milit
In Iran, while politicians almost unanimously rejected the offer, many were waiting for the leader to have the last word on the suggestion. This happened on Monday when Sayyed Ali Khamenei, addressing crowds of the citizens in Tehran, released his stance on the talks, saying negotiation with Washington "is forbidden".
Touching on unreliability of the US, the leader explained the White House’s formula and approach adopted by all American administrations during the negotiations with foreign governments. Recounting reasons why Iran has decided not to negotiate with the US , Ayatollah Khamenei explained:
- Because the Americans rely on money and power, they consider negotiations as a commercial exchange.
- When the US wants to negotiate with a party, they determine their main goals, and then they won’t retreat even a step away from these goals.
- They demand that the other party to pay a privilege immediately; and if the other party refuses to comply with them, they start to make a fuss, so the other party would surrender.
- The US itself does not pay anything in exchange for what it takes from the other party. The US only makes strong promises in order to enchant the other party with mere promises.
- In the final stage, after receiving all the immediate advantages, Americans breach their own promises.
“They (Americans) just give empty words but they want concrete privileges. At the end of the road, they break their word and do not fulfill it,” he told the Iranians coming from across the country to the capital to visit him.
A look at the track record of various US administrations’ performance in negotiations can make it clear that despite some differences in tactics and occasionally in strategies, they all adopt a single version of negotiating style.
Over decades, the main tool of the White House to realize its interests in special cases has been the carrot-and-stick policy, except for some case of direct military actions. Once the process is complete and Washington gets all of its demands met, its leaders break their promises under various ruses. They in some cases even press for further demands as they already devaluated the opposite side’s play cards. A very memorable example is the Libya denuclearization talks.
Following the 9/11 attacks on the US and the ensuing invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, who was once in the Soviet-led camp and thus an opponent to the US-led West’s policies in Africa, told Washington he was ready to quit his nuclear program and normalize diplomatic ties with the US, severed since 1981. In return, he demanded all of the sanctions on Tripoli lifted.
In March 2004, over 1,000 nuclear centrifuges and missile parts were shipped out of Libya. Despite the fact that some Libyan politicians bragged about their return to the international community by getting a temporary United Nations Security Council’s seat in return for quitting their missile and nuclear programs, Gaddafi was dissatisfied with the outcome. In April 2010, he told the media that the West did not help him with bolstering his economy and warned that Libya case is not a good model to settle Iran and North Korea nuclear cases. Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam later revealed that in 2009 his father halted enriched uranium shipment abroad to raise a bargaining chip against the West.
Mohamed El-Beradei the former International Atomic Energy Agency chief, in his book, The Age of Deception: Diplomacy In Treacherous Times wrote that Gadhafi did reforms to highly sensitive policies and moved back from his stances hoping to get West’s gratification. He added that Libya increased cooperation with the IAEA and the US with a hope to develop economically. The Libyans, he went on, engaged in full cooperation and provided requested information making the nuclear experts’ supervision an easy process. El-Beradei noted that duri
Al Khalifa’s rule began in 1783 and has continued to date. The country, with 767 square kilometers of size, fell to the hands of Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa since 1999. The ruler, feeling that Shiite citizens developing increasing knowledge of the democratic values, implemented a policy of crackdown and elimination politically, socially, and economically.
The repression against the Shiites, much of them Twelver Shiites, continued until 2011, the year when the people, taking cues from a wave of anti-dictatorship uprisings in the Arab region, rose their voice against the rule of Al Khalifa. But the ruling family countered the revolution with an iron fist as it was aided by Saudi Arabia and other despotic regimes. The revolt continued in the next years, reflecting immense antipathy to the Al Khalifa rule. The ruling family responded by shoring up its clampdown campaign unprecedentedly, drawing protests on the global stage.
So far, many international rights organizations have officially disparaged repression of the Shiite citizens in Bahrain. The Shiites in the new conditions are on the track of being gradually eliminated. Three regime policies set off the alarm bells to the Shiites:
Shiites marginalized from various social stages
Discrimination in offering equal opportunities in a variety of social, economic, and political areas is the regime’s top policy against the Shiite citizens. The government presses with its anti-Shiite policies so brazenly that even its Western allies, on top of them the US, admit that the Shiite citizens are subjected to big discrimination. Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB), a human rights watchdog focusing on Bahrain, this month published a report on the predominantly Shiite Bahraini natives, dubbed Baharna, bringing in spotlight their grave conditions. The report suggests that the Baharna account for 70 percent of the country’s population. They are, the report says, are exposed to substantial discrimination in social welfare, employment, education, and culture.
According to the report, the Baharna, also called Bahranis, are deprived of the right for education in their faith, as they also face a big challenge in job opportunities access. The ADHRB’s report adds that the native Bahrainis constitute the lower economic class of the society, with the Manama regime systematically depriving them of education, welfare, and medical services.
Al Khalifa also resorts to manipulation of the population demographically to transform the Sunni population into the majority as part of a strategy to impair the Shiite base. According to field investigations, the ruling regime has launched organized demographic change programs over the past three decades to decrease the Shiite population. The regime brings Sunnis from Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India with the guarantee of job opportunities, housing, and other social benefits to push the Shiites into a minority. Field realities show that the migrants, also called “the citizenized” locally, have reduced the proportion of the Shiite population. In 2001, for example, the Shiite population was 85 percent but in 2008 it fell to 70 percent. Since the 2011 uprising, some 15,000 Baathist Iraqis were moved to Bahrain from Jordan.
In 1999, Bahrain’s population was 700,000. The number increased to 1.250 million in 2012, with 350,000 of them being the citizenized people. The experts now warn that if the current demographic change policy goes on, over 80 percent of the Bahraini population will be Sunnis in 2050.
Anti-Shiite crackdown and citizenship revocation
Over the past few years, the Al Khalifa regime increasingly sent to prison the rights and civil activists and Shiite clerics under political motivations. According to a report jointly issued by ADHRB and Iraq Development Organization (IDO), the Bahraini regime continues its cl
By: Samuel Osborne
A Swedish Muslim woman whose job interview was terminated when she refused to shake hands with a man has won compensation.
Farah Alhajeh, 24, was applying for a job as an interpreter in her hometown of Uppsala when, for religious reasons, she placed her hand over her heart instead of shaking the hand of her male interviewer.
In the first judgement of its kind, the Swedish labour court ruled the company had discriminated against her.
The company had argued her actions contravened their requirement for staff to treat men and women equally.
Ms Alhajeh would have provided interpretation services via telephone or video, The Local reported, and would not have had to meet customers face-to-face.
The office of Sweden’s discrimination ombudsman argued she had tried to avoid any upset in the interview by greeting both men and women by placing her hand over her heart.
The company was ordered to pay 40,000 kronor (£3,400) in compensation.
According to the BBC, Sweden’s discrimination ombudsman, which represented Ms Alhajeh, said the judgement had taken into account “the employer’s interests, the individual’s right to bodily integrity, and the importance of the state to maintain protection for religious freedom.”
Sweden’s labour court found Ms Alhajeh’s refusal to shake hands due to religious reasons was protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.
While it said the company was right to demand both sexes be treated equally, it was detrimental to Muslims to demand a greeting in the form of a handshake.
Three labour judges ruled in favour of Ms Alhajeh’s claim, while two voted against.
Swedish Muslim woman wins handshaking discrimination case
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